Monday, February 29, 2016

Starting Anew: Weekly Affirmation

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. ||

This is quite possibly my favorite saying. It couldn't be truer, right? Attitude changes everything.

Positive attitude for a great week. Shall we?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Recipe: Overnight Oats

After two weeks of BootCamp, I'm finally getting back on a normal schedule (getting more sleep, meal prepping etc.) 

But even in the midst of the wonderful craziness that was BootCamp, I had time to make overnight oats. They're beyond easy to make, and you can double the recipe to make multiple portions at once. My favorite part is that you can change up the toppings and make them completely different each day.

Oh, and they're so easy. Did I say that?

|| Photos are property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. || 

Overnight Oats with Nuts and Berries

Rolled oats: 1/2 cup
Almond milk: 1/2 cup
Toppings: Varied, including blueberries, chia seeds, flaxseed, slivered almonds, brown sugar, almond milk

1.) Combine oats and almond milk in an airtight container (like a mason jar) and refrigerate overnight.
2.) In the morning, stir and top with desired toppings. 
3.) Enjoy!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Starting Anew: Weekly Affirmation

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I realized something last week - there is nothing like having the support of other women

It's not even the support of your family or your best girlfriends (but cheers to the strong, bold ladies who stand by our sides no matter what). It's the support of women in general. Women who have gone through similar experiences, who have had good days and bad. Ladies who take one look at you and know that a smile or a kind compliment can move mountains and change your whole day. Girls who might not know you well (or at all), but recognize that we're all in this together.

Last week, I felt so supported. I reached out to an old friend (and master hair colorist) and explained to her that I needed a change. At the drop of a hat, she was there for me, and allowed me to have an entire afternoon filled with easy conversation and "me-time" (and a brand new look). 

On top of that, I spent every day last week surrounded by strong, powerful women kicking booty every morning at BootCamp. We laughed, hugged and supported the shit out of each-other (you need to do that when 6 a.m. workouts are involved).

Not to mention, Meg and I had a roommate night filled with wine, face masks and Girls. And I spent an evening with some of my best yoga friends drinking white wine and chatting about life. Plus, I had long phone calls with my mom and sister.

I felt positive, strong and like I could conquer the world, with strong, likeminded people by my side. That's the power of supporting women. 

If nothing else, do that.

Friday, February 19, 2016

Life: Winter Reads

No matter the cost, I've never allowed myself to feel guilty about buying a book (my bank account might say otherwise, because my room is quite literally filled with them). I'm a true lover of books - I give them for gifts, I hoard them endlessly and I've been known to spend hours holed up inside any given Half Price Books.

In the midst of all this chaos, I've stumbled upon some truly incredible reads. Books that have opened my heart, enlightened my mind and reinvigorated my spirit. I even laughed.

Gratitude: A Journal by Catherine Price: This is a journal more so than a book. This journal encourages you to keep a daily record of the small, sweet things in life. It's filled with a year's worth of insightful prompts, quotes and room to reflect on the day to day things that make you happy and grateful.

Tiny Buddha's 365 Tiny Love Challenges: OK you got me, this is kind of a journal, too. This book was created by the founder of the only community (popular online community focusing on gratitude and happiness). Each week begins with an inspirational message written by members of the online community, followed by seven days of short challenges that focus on self-live, giving and receiving. It's a subtle daily reminder that even during life's challenges, there is always love to be given and shared.

The Spirituality Book: I grabbed this book on sale at Urban Outfitters around the holidays. I actually don't know where you can pick it up now, but I'm so excited to dive into book. I love the idea of diving into big topics like spirituality, and I'm excited to broaden my knowledge and learn more about spirituality as a whole, as well as what I truly believe. It'll be a good Saturday night read. With a lot of wine.

Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott: The cover and title drew me into this book, and after reading the book summary, I'm not sure I could have found a more perfect book for this time in my life. "Edith is a widowed landlady who rents apartments in her Brooklyn brownstone to an unlikely collection of humans, all deeply in need of shelter. Crippled in varous ways - in spirit, in mind, in body, in heart - the renters struggle to navigate daily existence, and soon come to realize that Edith's deteriorating mind, and the menacing presence of her estranged, unscrupulous son Owen, is the greatest challenge they must confront together." YES. My heart needs this.

Yes Please by Amy Poehler: This book needs no explanation. A strong, funny lady who challenges social norms and manages to achieve her dreams and conquer a divorce and raise a family? Amy, you are everything.

Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari: I picked this book up at Target the day after the breakup, and I couldn't believe what happened - I actually laughed. 24 hours after having my heart smashed. Only Aziz can do that.

The Soul Searcher's Handbook: A Modern Girl's Guide to the New Age World by Emma Mildon: This book is for the spiritual seeker, and I'm looking for guidance right now.This book offers tips, tricks and how-to's for incorporating everything from aromatherapy, numerology, healing crystals, meditation, astrology, dreamology, mysticism and more into your every day life. I'm halfway through and can't put it down. 

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. || 

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Beauty: New Adventures Color + Chop

Not going to lie, I thought the whole "post-breakup haircut" was a joke. Why on earth would I change my long, safe, uncolored, lifeless hair?

As I'm sure you can tell, I had a change of heart.

I woke up on Tuesday and had this powerful feeling that I needed a change. And I knew it was all about my hair.

How silly, right? Why does something like a hair cut or color change bring about such positive and powerful feelings of change? I mean, I didn't (and still might not) have the answer, but, as with most decisions in my life, I reacted immediately and made an appointment. I'm lucky my friend Sam is an incredible colorist at Haus in the North Loop and was able to get me in the next day.

I've had really short hair before (remember Katie Holmes' bob circa 2008? I had exactly that), and knew I couldn't go that short while teaching and practicing as much as I do. Plus, I still liked my long hair. Meeting in the middle made total sense.

And for the color, going blonder made total sense. With my dark eyes, light brown hair and olive skin, blonde sounded good. Real good. It also felt good to say "f*ck it, let's go blonde." 

Don't get me wrong, having a new hairstyle is exciting by itself, but making this change feels deeper than surface level. I didn't want to make a change to prove my independence, or introduce a "brand new me." For me, changing my hair symbolizes the constant change we're all going through (whether big or small). And for me, it's a good reminder that no matter what happens (breakups, haircuts, hardships and success), I'll never lose myself, and I'll always be me. 

And yes, a new look is really f*cking fun. And it's even more fun to call it the "new adventures" haircut. 

A huge thanks to Sam, Tanya and the Haus team for welcoming me with open arms and making me feel like an earthy, sarcastic little bombshell. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Life: A Year of Exploration

These last few months have been life changing for me (quite literally). It made me crave a new year and a fresh start like never before.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still most certainly in the stage where I'm confused and gravitate between sadness, anger and wine (wine is an emotion). But something's telling me that all of these changes are right. And my intuition tells me that the best, most necessary things in life aren't easy, and when you come out on the other side, it's truly, truly worth it.

So, I'm deciding to trust the universe. I've always believed it gives you exactly what you need (not always what you want). I'm running with it, and making 2016 a good, good year. I've said it before, but I'm not apologizing this year. For anything. I'm going to be impulsive, irrational and make reckless decisions. And god damn it, that's OK. It's time to heal, grow and explore.

I don't want to hold myself too strongly to anything this year; I want to be free, fluid and go wherever the wind blows me. But I want to make sure I do a few things on the way...

Holy smokes, 2016. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Recipe: Blackberry Smoothie Bowl

This time last year, I was packing my bags for two weeks in the Costa Rican jungle. To say I miss that place is an understatement.

One of the best parts about Costa Rica was access to amazing, fresh fruit and vegetables. Here in the north, that's hard to come by (especially in the winter). But I've been under the weather recently and my body was craving fruits and vegetables. A smoothie bowl was the perfect answer.

I hadn't made a smoothie bowl before, but had eaten enough of them in Costa Rica to get the general idea. Lots of fruits, nuts and berries. Done and done.

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. ||

Blackberry Smoothie Bowl


Blackberries: 1 cup (3/4 cup for smoothie, 1/4 cup for toppings)
Almond milk: 2 cups (can add less or more depending on desired smoothie thickness)
Ice: 1 cup (for smoothie)
Spinach: Small handful (for smoothie)
Flax seed: 1 teaspoon (for smoothie)
Banana: 1.5 (1 whole for smoothie, 1/2 for toppings)
Chia: 1 tablespoon (for toppings)
Blueberries: 1/4 cup (for toppings)
Slivered almonds: 1 tablespoon (for toppings)
Raising: 1 tablespoon (for toppings)

1.) Blend smoothie ingredients in a blender. Blend until smoothie has your desired thickness
2.) Pour smoothie in a bowl. Top with desired toppings.
3.) Enjoy!

Monday, February 15, 2016

Starting Anew: Weekly Affirmation

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I'm constantly guilty of not doing this. Life is busy - our to-do lists pile up, we have people to see, relationships to nurture, errands to run and a million other things to do. It's easy to try and find more time to complete those tasks by cutting out things for us, things our bodies and our minds need.

This week, I'm really listening to this mantra. While I'm finishing up week two of BootCamp, transitioning into a new job and freelancing, I'm getting over walking pneumonia. If that isn't a sign that my body needs rest, I don't know that it is.

One step at a time. Take care of yourself. Make time for you. Let yourself rest.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Music: Valentine's Day Love Hate

Happy Saturday! I'm spending much of this weekend teaching, so a Valentine's Day love/hate playlist had to happen.

I'm teaching tabata to this playlist this morning (specifically using "My First Kiss" through "We Found Love" with some yoga warm-up and cooldown at the end). It's an even mix of songs for the lovers and the haters of the holiday (I'm wearing all black this year).

Wherever you're at with this holiday, just remember there's heart shaped pizza, dark chocolate and endless bottles of red wine. There are worse things.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Organized & On It

A new job or promotion is always a great time for a little reorganization. Being a chronic list maker/organization extraordinaire, this is one of my favorite parts about a career change.

My desk space is somewhat shared and limited, so my reorg needed to be modern, clean and fresh. Luckily, I live less than a half mile from Target and they have all the things (minus the phone case). Plus they're affordable. Win win.

Calendar and planner: While my phone is great, having a physical calendar and written to-do list really helps me visualize and remember what's going on.

Organizers: Necessary. My current favorite is a "letter" organizer.This bad boy states it's for organizing letters, but I use it for housing my notepads, pens and loose pieces of paper. You know how you never know how much you needed something until you have it? Couldn't be truer. Same can be said about the folder organizer. With so many file folders, I need a place to put them all.

Phone case: You've got to differentiate your phone. And like what it looks like.

Desk accessories: Succulents, quartz paper weights, gold geometric spheres, rock bookends and mugs. All necessary. Really.

Stationery: Thank you cards, pens and business card holders are a must. Always. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Recipe: Greyhound

With Valentine's Day looming, I think it's the perfect time for a cocktail.

Tart, light and pink, it's a great drink for Valentine's Day. Plus, you only need two ingredients (couldn't be easier).

I recommend using freshly squeezed grapefruit juice instead of bottled or canned juice (trust me, you won't be sorry). And grapefruits are healthy and vodka fights germs, so this is a big win, right? 

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. || 


Grapefruit (1-2 whole)


1.) Fill a glass with ice.
2.) Pour one part vodka, three parts grapefruit juice into the glass and stir.
3.) Garnish with a slice of grapefruit and enjoy.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Starting Anew: Weekly Affirmation

Damn right they can be. Always look for the beauty, the positive. Happy Monday.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Presently: February

|| Photo is property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. || 

February, for such a short month, you always find a way to keep me on my toes, when all I want to do is hibernate and nest. Good thing there's red wine. 

Making: to-do lists on to-do lists! Between my new job, leading BootCamp and freelancing, my calendar is booked and these lists are long.
Watching: documentaries on HBOnow and Netflix with Meg on the snowiest of nights. We recently watched "Burt's Buzz" and "Cobain: Montage of Heck."
Doing: my nails. No time (or budget) for manicures and pedicures this month.
Thinking: of cutting "eating out" from my diet for a week. Can I do it?
Visiting: with Meg over lunch (when I'm home) and dinner at night. It's nice to have a roommate again.
Rocking: snow boots. So much snow.
Spending: evenings in our cozy basement hibernating. That's totally allowed in February.
Shopping: online for used Patagonia (hello, eBay!) Between winter in Minnesota and an upcoming adventure (eek!), I need high quality layers.
Eating: more poorly than I'd like to admit. A busy month has a way of taking its toll on eating healthy.
Drinking: equal amounts of red wine and Airborne.
Missing: mornings where the sun was up before I was. Daylight savings, yes please.
Planning: a soul searching trip to Iceland - stay tuned!
Working: my new job! I recently accepted an Assistant Studio Manager job at the CorePower Yoga in Minnetonka. I'm loving my new home!
Reading: A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan.
Wanting: to reset. I'm leading BootCamp with CorePower starting on Saturday, so now sounds like the perfect time to think about how I'm eating, how much I'm sleeping and how much water I'm consuming.
Enjoying: the time spent with Camp in bed blogging, reading and settling down before going to bed. The noises he makes when he dreams are the cutest.
Writing: five blog posts a week! My new goal for 2016.
Pinning: healthy recipes and unique DIY projects.
Cooking: less than I want to. Living in a new space and sharing a kitchen takes some getting used to.
Pondering: how many calories you burn shoveling a driveway covered in 8 inches of snow...
Listening: to my "Winter Winds" playlist on Spotify. On repeat.
Liking: the idea of an epsom salt bath this week to warm my bones and relax my muscles.
Feeling: soreness in my muscles. I'm taking classes from the teachers at my new studio, and I'm beginning to feel the (sometimes) two classes per day.
Noticing: that 95% of happiness in life is based on attitude. Always.
Going: to lots of breweries, distilleries and cocktail bars in Minneapolis to fight the cold. Current favorites are Able Seedhouse + Brewery, Tattersall Distilling and Parlour.
Debating: a haircut. Wait...maybe not.
Loving: snoozes with Camp (who takes up most of the bed).
Marveling: over the true therapy that is drinking wine with your girlfriends (sometimes laying on the floor, channeling Kendall Jenner).

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Valentine's Day: For You + Pup

Remember how I said my favorite Valentine's Days were the ones I spent by myself? Well, karma listened, and I'm back at it again.

As easy as it could be for me to let this holiday consume me in the worst way possible, I'm taking charge of it. I like Valentine's Day, damn it. Plus, I have the most handsome Valentine around (my little Camper!)

Apart from having a single ladies celebration on Valentine's Day weekend (yes, wearing all black), I'm teaching yoga, drinking cocktails, dancing and treating myself. Below are some of the ways Camp and I are treating ourselves this month. Who knows, this could be our favorite Valentine's Day yet.

Books and music: I started reading Aziz Ansari's Modern Romance post-breakup, and it's hysterical, honest and brilliant. I'm also listening to Father John Misty's newest album, I Love You Honeybear, on repeat.

Beauty: I love Burt's Bees, and their newest chapsticks and lipsticks are to die for (I'm digging the dark shades for my moody little Valentine's Day). For my nails, I've been wearing Essie's Master Plan nonstop for the past few months (ironic as my life continues to shift and prove to me that master plans don't, in fact, exist). Mad Hippie also sent me some of their face serums to use, and I'm obsessed (both with the name and how vibrant they make my skin look and feel). I'm also waiting to pull the trigger on Dasein's unisex "Winter" perfume. And I couldn't forget Neutrogena. Nothing goes together like a cold night, stressful day and bubble bath, and their Rainbath products are still a favorite of mine.

Home: I've been writing more and more lately, and AllSwell's notebook is my favorite way to do that - it's trendy and cute and fits nicely in my bedside drawer/work bag/purse/pretty much everywhere. I'm also burning candles nonstop (obsessing over PF Candle Company's grapefruit candle), rocking a new wooden phone case (Woodchuck is a phenomenal local brand) and am debating buying or making that proud pitbull mom tank, because obviously.

Pup: Don't worry, Camp's in on the love, too! Waggo sent him some super chic dog bowls that we can't get enough of, and his BarkBox is on the way, full of Valentine's themed toys and treats.

If you're in Minneapolis on Valentine's Day weekend, First Ave has you covered. On Friday, they're hosting Forever Young Love Love Semi Formal (a semi-formal celebrating love songs from the TRL era), and on Sunday they're hosting The Love Below: R&B Dance Night. I can't think of a better place to be on Valentine's Day weekend. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Music: Winter Winds

Moving to and working in the suburbs means I'm spending more time in my car than I'm used to. To pass the time, I'm always listening to music. Especially during winter, I gravitate toward slow, emotional tunes dominated by acoustic guitars and raspy, drawling voices.

"Winter Winds" is my current winter playlist, and I can't get enough. Slow, steady and calming, it's on repeat in my car, while I'm freelancing from home and when I'm blogging. Basically, it's nonstop. But Camp approves.

Happy grooving.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Recipe: Roast Butternut Squash

Nothing says comfort food during fall better than squash. Especially in the dead of winter (and during an upcoming snowstorm), my body is craving warm, gooey roasted squash.

I'm relatively new to cooking squash. Honestly, the whole idea of making squash seemed time consuming and tricky. I decided to give it a try a few years ago, and I can't believe I haven't done it sooner. It's simple to do and the result is warm, roasted and delicious. I'm a big, big fan.

The other night, I was craving mashed potatoes, but I told myself I was going to cook the butternut squash that was sitting on the counter. With enough roasting, I knew the squash would caramelize and be all of the gooey goodness I was looking for.

One squash, some olive oil, salt, pepper and an hour - that's all that stands between you and total yum.

Roast Butternut Squash

Butternut squash: 1 whole
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Slice butternut squash in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and fleshy orange strings.
3. Drizzle the squash (face up) with olive oil, then flip the flat side of the squash facing down on the pan. Lightly drizzle the skin side of the squash with olive oil.
4. Bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, remove squash and flip with the flat side facing up. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
5. Continue baking for an additional 10-15 minutes or until the skin of the squash can be easily punctured by a fork.
6. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Scoop squash out of skin using a spoon. Serve and enjoy.

|| Photos are property of Mountain Shadow Morning. Must give credit. ||

Monday, February 1, 2016

February Feel

February. Here's to a short month, snowy days and my handsome Valentine pup, Camper.

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